"Some men came, bringing to him a paralytic, carried by four of them. Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus and, after digging through it, lowered the mat the paralyzed man was lying on."
The four friends of the paralyzed man probably did more than carry the stretcher. Maybe they arrived early at their friend's house to help him get ready. When the group arrived at the home where Jesus was teaching, they most likely placed the paralyzed man on the ground to survey the scene. Going through the crowd wouldn't work; they must come up with an alternate plan of action. Eyeing the stairs up the side of the house to the roof, they realized, that's it!
Persistence paid off. A ripped-up roof certainly got Jesus' attention, but the four friends -- their faith, creativity, and commitment -- probably drew more attention. Perhaps as Jesus looked up to see crumbling tiles dropping from the ceiling, He may have thought of His own words, "Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me."
Would you be my stretcher bearers, when I can no longer stand?
Would you each pick up a corner of my pallet in your hand?
This burden's just too heavy, I find I cannot bear
Its pain, its grief, its sorrow; and so I chance to dare --
To ask if you would carry me through valleys dark and wide;
Then set me safely down again where peace and hope abide.
God said His yoke was easy and His burden would be light;
That's surely why He sent you each to lead me through the night.
And now I just lift others and the burdens they may bring;
I'll be a stretcher bearer carrying wounded for the King.
Lord, help me to bear the burden of another today; show me a stretcher I can help carry.
Joni and Friends